World-renowned selenium researcher Larry Clark dies

March 22, 2000

Larry C. Clark, internationally known for his work in understanding the role of selenium in preventing cancer, died Monday, March 20, from complications related to prostate cancer. He was 51.

Clark joined the faculty of the University of Arizona College of Medicine in 1987.

He was associate professor in the College of Public Health and was a member of the Arizona Cancer Center. Until his death, he directed the Nutritional Prevention of Cancer Projects in Selenium at the Arizona Cancer Center. He also was an adjunct associate professor in the department of nutritional sciences in the UA College of Agriculture.

Clark's research focused on the beneficial health effects of selenium in humans. His most widely known work was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in December 1996. This study provided the first evidence that while selenium had no benefit in reducing skin cancer incidence, nutritional supplementation with selenium may reduce the incidence of prostate, lung and colon cancers. A second article that recognized selenium's potential for reducing prostate cancer risk was published in the British Journal of Urology in 1998. Clark's current research involves three complementary clinical trials of selenium and prostate cancer prevention and progression that should help determine the role of selenium in this disease.

In 1970, Clark received his bachelor of science degree from Alma College in Michigan. Clark then spent several years in the Smallpox Eradication Programme in Ethiopia where his interest in epidemiology developed. He completed a master's in public health degree in epidemiology in 1974 at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and received his doctorate degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1981.

Prior to joining the UA faculty, Clark was an assistant professor of epidemiology at Cornell University.

Clark received the Pioneer Science Award in October 1997 from the Cancer Treatment Research Foundation for his research on selenium and human cancer. This past October, he was featured on the cover of Cancer Research in recognition of the importance of his joint research in selenium and cancer prevention with colleagues B.D. Reddy, K. El-Bayoumy and E.S. Fiala.

The author of 29 journal articles, Clark was a member of the Quality of Natural Medicine Advisory Council, and served on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Department of Defense Prostate Cancer Program in 1995.

He is survived by his wife, Louanne, and his daughter, Julia. The family has requested that memorial gifts be made to the Julia Cynthia Clark Educational Fund through Bank One, 2121 W. Grant Rd., Tucson, AZ 85745; or the Larry Clark Memorial Fund at the Arizona Cancer Center, P.O. Box 245013, Tucson, AZ 85724-5013.